30 December 2013

New Year Resolutions

It is to be hoped that the new year will be a time of continued improvement and return to reputational health at New Mills Town Council.

Although High Peak Transparency deals with the whole High Peak area, in 2013 it was the town of New Mills that was in the spotlight.  This was because a battle broke out at the town hall, to end the long-festering culture of corruption and dishonesty which had taken hold there since the summer of 2002.

Previously in New Mills

The supporters and backers of the dishonest town clerk Susan Stevens and dishonest councillor Ian Huddlestone have resigned from the town council.

The local councillors who support this dishonesty and corruption in public life are Tony Ashton (Conservative) and Alan Barrow (Labour).  These supporters of dishonesty and corruption are currently members of the High Peak Borough Council, along with overtly dishonest councillor Ian Huddlestone.

The 'bad councillors' group on New Mills town council has therefore currently been reduced to one: Alistair Stevens, an estate agent in Oldham.

Cllr Alistair Stevens is now working towards a large payout - from public money - for his wife.  He is hoping that Mrs Susan Stevens gets a figure of between £150,000 and £250,000 from New Mills town council. His wife is the dishonest ex-town clerk of New Mills, who was sacked for gross misconduct.

Some New Year Tasks and Goals:

Stevens v New Mills Town Council

The Employment Tribunal is expected to hear the case of Susan Stevens v New Mills Town Council.  Due to legal time limits in this sort of case, the claim will have to be submitted to the Tribunal in the early part of 2014, and the town council notified.

We understand that the Stevenses are simply interested in grabbing a large payout of money at the expense of the council taxpayers of New Mills, and that Mrs Stevens is not interested in getting the job back.

The missing charity money

Charity number 527167 is connected to the town of New Mills.  It's a fairly old charity, which used to be known as the Godward Trust. Latterly its name was changed to the New Mills Higher Education Trust.

There is currently about £25,000 of missing or inaccessible money that rightfully belongs to the proper beneficiaries of the charity. The last-known individuals connected with this charity's management are Steven Sharp (former councillor in New Mills), Alistair Stevens (current town councillor in New Mills) and Susan Stevens (dishonest former town clerk).

Mr Sharp and Cllr Stevens were the charity trustees, and Mrs Stevens was the official charity contact officer (i.e. secretary of the charity).

The charity's records must be rectified and the missing money recovered, both as a matter of urgency.

Appointments of permanent Town Clerk (Proper Officer) and Responsible Financial Officer

In 2013, Mrs Susan Stevens was found out making false statements to the members of the council. Along with other gross misconduct and misconduct in a public office, this led to her instant dismissal from the post of Town Clerk in New Mills.

Mrs Stevens simultaneously held the roles of Town Clerk, Proper Officer, and Responsible Financial Officer. One of the lessons of this time of severe disruption is that the two critical roles (Town Clerk/Proper Officer and Responsible Financial Officer) should not be in the hands of one person.

One of the town council's tasks in 2014 is to advertise for and recruit reliable, trustworthy, knowledgeable people for the above two permanent roles.  Presumably the present temporary incumbents will be invited to apply.

Given what took place in the town hall between 2002 and 2013, these are very important public appointments in the long history of New Mills.

18 December 2013

Comment Is Free

There is a lot of interest in High Peak Transparency, and we are gratified that the monthly page views are currently in the range 10,000 to 11,000.  At the time of the New Mills town clerk's instant dismissal for gross misconduct, and the police being called in at the town hall, monthly page views peaked at 15,000 (High Peak Transparency was the only news source for this important local information).

An interesting part of this site's development is that it has also become a forum for local politics and public interest matters in the town of New Mills.  The comments sections (at the bottom of each article) have grown to be a lively forum, with hundreds of posts from various different people.

Unfortunately, when something grows popular, it inevitably attracts some nutters and some unfulfilled, frustrated and sad individuals who want to attack it.  On websites, they try to do this through the comments sections.

Why should an Editor have to put up with nutters etc on his own?

Therefore, for the edification of HPT's regular readership, below are the comments that have been sent in to this site but which, for one reason or another, didn't make it through to publication.

Some of the comments are baffling, some are malicious, some are irrational. Some simply make no sense whatsoever

Please note: there is no point readers making complaints about what these particular contributors (below) are going on about: some of the comments have clearly been sent in by the aforesaid nutters and unfulfilled, frustrated and sad individuals. Indeed, a proportion of the 'didn't make it' comments printed below might even have come from persons connected with the recently jobless...

Wonder where the recent posts have gone - did someone get told off ? naughty naughty Be careful those council strings dont trip you up x on Mystery Of More Missing Money At Town Hall

If its an idiotic question then Mr Ed is more than qualified to answer or perhaps he can ask his whistle blowers and moles to pen a reply for him - make sure you check with NMTC before replying though dont want you getting in trouble. on The Minutes And The Times
in response to Mr Ed is it true that you have to check with NMTC before you use your keyboard these days ? What is that old Eurovision song... 'puppet on a string' !, by Anonymous

Public interest or in the interest of Mr Ed and his string pullers ? Dont go upsetting the man with the red diesel. on This Soap Opera Has Just Crossed Over Into Fantasy Land
in response to Why do you want to concentarte on one set of bad apples and not on all of them - is this group about transparency or just a personal witch(es) hunt - if there are other members of NMTC who got their posts incorrectly then it should be discussed/outed - or perhaps that would annoy the person in question and close down one of Mr Eds sources - the plot thickens, by Anonymous.

It would take too long for some who comment on here to list their various incomes and even longer to explain where that income comes from on This Soap Opera Has Just Crossed Over Into Fantasy Land
in response to bad reputation is the symptom, not the problem.. the problem is badly performing people. when that changes, the reputation of the organisation also changes, by bungabunga.

A 'whistleblower' is a time served 'mole' - it should be seen as a promotion in the hierchy of town council politics - both still fall short of being a public servent, and some way short of being human. on This Soap Opera Has Just Crossed Over Into Fantasy Land

Colonel Kendal jumping in there quickly at the defence which is admirable - NMTC accounts are scrutinised and published and look at the mess they are in - bar takings without a till or audit of stock are always open to abuse - how do you think a lowly tradesman in such hard times affords so many holidays ? on Mystery Of More Missing Money At Town Hall
in response to I heard from a 'concerned leader of a local arts group' that two current town councillors are less than prudent in their running of bars at local events (Town Hall, Spring Bank Arts) - i.e. for the number of people that attend these events the bar takings are somewhat low - perhaps HPT can do some digging into these events or ask its readership for input? Or perhaps just ignore this question as it implicates some of 'good councillors'...by Anonymous.

This sounds very grand, a little pompous but very grand, but what does '' For one who knows what's what legally'' mean and how can anybody know what was actually discussed under the individual heading unless they where actually in the meeting. Unless of course you've been trained in the subject like the ex Town Clerk and the Councillors, some now ex, but then again you couldn't know what shouldn't ''have been in private part'' unless you were there - Mmmm I wonder which Cllr who was there might be trying to cast doubt on the ability of the current Cllrs and now the other comment about '' not getting good advice'' ? Sorry but sounds like more sour grapes/distraction rubbish! on The Minutes And The Times
in response to Mr Ed have you asked why so many items were taken in the private part if the meeting? For one who knows what's what legally some of the items shouldn't have been in private?, by Anonymous.

Is it not time for all NMTC's to pack up be they GOOD,BAD or UGLY. Power does corrupt no matter how small or insignificant the organization, and the corruption seems to be embedded in this council. Lets hand over to the Borough and save money on Mystery Of More Missing Money At Town Hall
in response to I heard from a 'concerned leader of a local arts group' that two current town councillors are less than prudent in their running of bars at local events (Town Hall, Spring Bank Arts) - i.e. for the number of people that attend these events the bar takings are somewhat low - perhaps HPT can do some digging into these events or ask its readership for input? Or perhaps just ignore this question as it implicates some of 'good councillors' ...Anonymous.

Does the Editor know of the group of 'real' New Mills people who just continually hit the refresh button randomly to make him think his site is getting more and more hits - when in fact all he is really doing is talking mainly to himself, his two main (anon sources) sources and a few bored pensioners - laughable. (oooh there goes another 100) on More Details Of The Ongoing Crisis Resolution Emerge At Council Meeting

Thought you had 2 Clerks who knew what they were doing?? on More Details Of The Ongoing Crisis Resolution Emerge At Council Meeting
in response to With regard to the publication of agendas and minutes, the RULES are that agendas must be published (ie made available to the public) at least three clear days (not including weekends) prior to the meeting, and preferably five to seven days. If this is not done, the meeting should not go ahead, as not enough notice has been given. The rules also state that if a council has a website, then agendas and minutes must be published. ... by Anonymous.

Why have you engineered a slur campaign against Ian Huddlestone?I know you hold him responsible for decisions made in the past ,he is doing what he is elected to do .if you are intent on the clean up,it's going to happen anyway ,without you keep saying ...Err don't forget Ian Huddlestone because of a deep personal jealous dislike. on Parish Notices, or First Local Councillor To Orbit The Moon
in response to HPT Editor's comment: For the avoidance of doubt. The New Mills Town Council at the time of the formal demand/request to this site that no comments about town hall employees be made, in order that the disciplinary and grievances processes etc could properly conclude, comprises the following members: Atkins R; Baines J; Bowers A; Bowers G; Dowson L; Gadd J; Gadd M; Lamb D; Stevens A. All of the requests ...

The Liberal Democrats were formed by chameleons.......... on More Company News

There are dishonest people everywhere, not just in New Mills, There is one in Whaley Bridge , he's even got a dog-collar on. on Free Speech In A Free Society
in response to personalities are surely extremely relevant, if theres a dishonest person in a public role in any council then its relevant to the public that person is dishonest , by Anonymous.

publish this, as again you seem to only publish what you seem to think is ok....THIS WOMAN APPLIED FOR THE JOB AT HAYFIELD AND DIDN'T GET IT....Hardly a reason why she should be the new "saviour" at NEW MILLS.... on The New Town Clerk, and First Bad Councillor Named
in response to best of luck to new clerk in post lesley bramwell... i bet the undermining by the councils unholy alliance starts here..., byAnonymous.

Brave statement to be making behind an Anonymous position. Is this thought through the means of this unfair data blog alone? Considering comments like this are published yet other ones which throw the other facts of whats going on are not? on Dirty Tricks Department: Stevens Family Values

Well done DALC -looks like you have legitimised this site! on Statement by DALC concerning recent events at New Mills Town Council

12 December 2013

This Soap Opera Has Just Crossed Over Into Fantasy Land

A mole inside the Staffordshire Moorlands/High Peak Borough 'strategic alliance' has been in touch with a fantastic tale.

Councillor Alistair Stevens of New Mills has reported the rest of the town councillors* in New Mills to the local Standards Committee.

Can it be true?

For Cllr Alistair Stevens to report the other New Mills town councillors for bad behaviour in public office, which is what the Standards Committee deals with, would be like Doctor Harold Shipman having a go at his elderly pensioner patients for clogging up his waiting room with their illnesses.  Or Stuart Hall complaining that his victims' parents were allowing their young daughters lone visits to his dressing room.

If this astonishing report turns out to be true, and Cllr Alistair Stevens - of all people - actually has taken the other New Mills town councillors* to the Standards regime for councillors, then this is going to be one hell of a story.

It would seem Cllr Alistair Stevens is more focused on 'dirty tricks' against good councillors than on serving the public, or on clearing up the mystery missing charity money to help local good causes. (See previous HPT article.)

For a reminder of Cllr Alistair Stevens' other conduct whilst in office as a local councillor, and his wife Susan's carryings-on before her instant dismissal for gross misconduct from the post of town clerk, would all parties please review this year's series of exposure articles on High Peak Transparency.

* All the town councillors apart from Cllr Ray Atkins, who is a fellow Liberal Democrat along with Cllr Alistair Stevens

10 December 2013

Mystery Of More Missing Money At Town Hall

A council whistleblower warned us some months ago that this story was coming down the tracks. However, at that time there was not enough firm detail available to warrant publication.

In particular, and crucially, at that early stage the whistleblower was not able to name the amount of missing money involved.

Now, the story has arrived at High Peak Transparency station, on its way to... well, only time will tell where this one ends up.

This time, the amount of money involved in the investigation is £25,000.  The place: New Mills in the High Peak.

Here is the rest of the information revealed during last night's town council meeting at New Mills town hall:

The name of the New Mills charity where this substantial sum of money has gone walkabout - or become inaccessible to the charity's intended beneficiaries - is New Mills Higher Educational Trust. Its working name was the Godward Trust.

According to Charity Commission documents, the New Mills individuals connected with the local charity are: Stephen Sharp; Alistair Stevens; Susan Stevens.

Steve Sharp is a former councillor; Susan Stevens is the former town clerk; Alistair Stevens is a current councillor.  Alistair Stevens and Susan Stevens are married to each other.

The charity's last available documented income was just under £1,000 a year. The official records show that no money has been spent on any good causes by the current trustees of this local charity.

The charity's annual accounts were filed until 2010, when they suddenly stopped.

Sorry, loyal readers, for presenting an article that initially has more questions than answers on this occasion.

Rest assured that, as all the definitive answers come in on this latest financial mystery involving present or past New Mills councillors and council officers and the public's money, you shall read them here first.